Geometry: A Fresh Approach

Another uncluttered, fresh-looking math course from author Christy Walters. Again, I love that the book is addressed to the student, has plenty of workspace for problem-solving, and uses a no-nonsense approach. There is nothing "cute" here; just a direct, front-on approach to learning math. PLEASE READ THE DESCRIPTION for Algebra, if you are not familiar with the Algebra courses, as they function similarly. If you have used the Algebra I course, you will equally enjoy Geometry.

In the Geometry book, I like that she begins with a mini logic course (much like Jacobs). Instead of waiting until introducing geometric theorems to have the student begin doing proofs, she immediately introduces them in the context of what the student already knows (using algebraic principles). In this way, proofs are not a "new" thing used to prove just geometry theorems, but are familiar to the student as an extension and organization of logical thought. Although non-Euclidean geometry is an interesting topic in the Jacobs book, your math-reluctant student will appreciate not having to deal with such abstract concepts here. For a more complete idea of the scope and sequence of this course (and other geometry courses, for comparison), please visit our website to view the table of contents.

The thirteen chapters are broken into parts (lessons) with direct instruction followed by problems. Again, I like the self-discovery incorporated into the exercises as well as the short-answer questions, which require the student to put principles into words. The last part of each chapter is a mixed review including material from previous sections and chapters of the book. While the book is thick (730 pages before the answers to odd-problems section), the larger typeset font is easy on the eye and the less bulky text per page helps the instruction seem less intimidating and overwhelming. Since this book is intended for use between Algebra I and Algebra II, there is an Appendix devoted to a review of algebraic concepts. This is a great mini-refresher course and I am glad to see it all in one place at the end of the book rather than parceled out in the middle of the geometry course. I found the latter approach to be unnecessarily distracting in the Jacobs book.

Another notable feature of this series is the ability to work directly in the book or photocopy the student problem pages rather than recopying the problems and working on a separate sheet of paper. In the geometry course, this goes a step further in the inclusion of blank coordinate graphs on problems that require them. A companion DVD is also now included in the back of the book that includes extra help for chapters 2, 3, 12 and 13. The additional guidance on using a protractor, drawing 3-D shapes and perimeter, area and volume will be an asset to most students.

I really like this math series and would recommend it to any student, but particularly for children who seem confused by other math courses and for children who are working grade-levels ahead. It is a good text for the easily-distracted and math-phobic student as well - who needs to see things organized clearly and appreciates the less-cluttered feel of the text. If your child has had difficulty using other math programs, don't throw in the towel until you've tried "A Fresh Approach".

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